Marriage. In earlier times, clans were exogamous and Marriage among relatives was prohibited. An exchange of gifts established the marital ties. There was some polygyny. Usually a year's bride-service was required during which the groom simply lived with the bride's family and contributed to the Economy of the household. Divorce was a very simple matter as matrimonial bonds were severed without ceremony. Today, marriages and divorces are likely to be legally sanctioned for the Kansas Kickapoo and, to a lesser extent, among those in Oklahoma. The Mexican Kickapoo, however, retain many of the traditional customs, which are not based on a formal state legal system. There is little ceremony attached to marriage. Use of a whistle language for courtship is still practiced in Mexico. After a courtship period, the groom passes a night with the bride in her house. His discovery by the bride's Family on the following morning establishes the marital union. There is still a de facto period of bride-service. The newly married couple resides with the bride's family, usually until the first child is born, at which time the wife builds a house for them in or near the compound of her maternal female relatives. During the period of migratory agricultural labor, However, matrilocal residence gives way to temporary residency established around patrilineally organized bands, which also form field and orchard work crews.
Domestic Unit. The household was traditionally the basic unit of production, with women tending to gathering and agricultural activities and men hunting. This pattern, which alternated matrilocal compounds with patrilocal camps, effectively created extended cooperative groups, although the nuclear household was the norm. This same pattern can be observed among the Kickapoo in Mexico today. Nuclear Family households are more customary in Kansas and Oklahoma, but extended families are also common.
Inheritance. Most property is passed on according to the wishes of the deceased. This includes real property, vehicles, livestock, and so on. The traditional Kickapoo house is built and owned by women, and on a woman's death, ownership usually passes to her oldest daughter. Personal belongings are divided among those who dig the grave and prepare the body for burial.
Socialization. Children are raised in a permissive fashion and are allowed to make decisions for themselves even at an early age. Fear of witches and supernatural phenomena are used by adults to control and sanction behavior, particularly among the Kickapoo in Oklahoma and Mexico. Children in Kansas and Oklahoma attend school, some going on to vocational training or college. Until recently, members of the very conservative Mexican Kickapoo have sought to avoid the acculturative effects of formal education and have purposely prevented their children from attending school. This attitude is changing owing to a closer association with the United States, which resulted from the newly established reservation in Eagle Pass, Texas, made available to them in 1986.